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Feed me! Fueling the hard-core athlete post workout.

Editor’s note: This blog was contributed by Joel Ankeny, a fifth generation bike racer. He has notched two top 5 finishes in the Nightmare Tour of Lancaster County, completed a double century (200 miles), and most recently placed 4th in the 2010/11 Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Regional Championship B race. (Picture to right courtesy of Joe Mallis)

After a crushing workout, my stomach is like a bottomless pit. I not only crave calories quick, but I know my body needs them. And while it’s tempting to grab whatever is within easy reach—inhaling three sleeves of Oreos probably isn't a good idea. I know that I need calories, but “good calories.”

As cliché as it is, the saying "garbage in garbage out" is very appropriate when it comes to recovery food. If you ingest garbage to help recover then garbage is exactly what you'll get in return. If your post workout meal contains the right nutrients, the body will recover and be at its best for the next athletic push.

Below are two of my favorite post workout recipes. The quicker you can get fuel into the body and start the recovery process the better. I try to eat within an hour of returning home from my workout; and I usually munch on a serving or two of unsalted almonds and cashews while I prepare my meal.

Editor’s note: 

  • Click here for training advice for your first Century Ride 
  • Click here for a vegetarian protein packed recipe using Quinoa

Recovery Recipes

These recipes are two of my favorite “go-to meals” after my 2-hour weekday rides. Both meals offer a solid, nutrient packed foundation. Add or take away something to fit your body’s specific needs and/or tastes.

1. Pasta with a twist.  Carbs, protein and healthy fats! It's simple; so no excuses.


  • 4oz whole wheat pasta - cooked al dente
  • 2 hard boiled large eggs – crushed 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese 
  • Crush red pepper to taste 

Serve the crushed hard boiled eggs over the pasta, drizzle the olive oil over the whole thing, and then add the cheese and red pepper to taste. I usually have a slice of homemade whole wheat bread as well.

Nutrition for entire dish (*estimated by the Athletic-Minded Traveler Team

  • Calories 995
  • Fat 58g total, 13 Saturated
  • Fiber 12g
  • Carbs 80g
  • Sodium 400mg

2.  Easy Pollo Ankeny. Fiber, carbs, protein,'s all here.


  • 1 cup of whole grain brown rice cooked according to directions
  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes (approx. 1lb) 
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (50 calories) bonus lycopene! 
  • 2 ears of corn (or 1 to 1.5 cups kernels)
  • 1 medium onion, approx. 3/4 C chopped to preference
  • 1 sweet red pepper, about 3/4 C cut to preference
  • 1 large carrot, cut or chopped to preference 
  • 12 oz can chick peas (one can) 
  • 12 oz can artichoke hearts 
  • 15 oz can black beans 
  • Black olives sliced (optional) 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 


Heat oil over medium-high in a large skillet or Wok and add chicken and thoroughly cook through, about 7-9 minutes.

Add the onion and red pepper and continue cooking until tender (3-5 minutes).

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining ingredients. Cook until hot.

Serve over 1/4 cup of brown rice. 

Nutrition per Serving. Four Servings (*estimated by the Athletic-Minded Traveler Team

  • Calories 455
  • Protein 38g
  • Fat 8g, 1g saturated
  • Fiber 12g
  • Carbs 57g

NOTE: The tomatoes, red pepper, onion and carrot mean BONUS nutrition in the form of lycopene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C & Potassium

Hopefully these two recipes can help jump start your recovery after your next workout or event. Every athlete's body is different, so tweak these to suit you dietary needs.

-- Joel Ankeny

MORE FOOD PLEASE! Visit the Athletic-Minded Traveler "Everything Food" Archives for great ideas, recipes and information about eating well.

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